Let them pass through

reflection

Spaciousness does not come by arriving at a state of mind where thoughts and emotions simply do not arise and disturb us. On the contrary, difficulties are part of life, and emotions connected to them will always arise. Rather it comes when we can hold such mental events in awareness in such a way that we do not give them, or the stories and dramas that make up our personality, the importance that they clamour for:

Yes, there is the purity of these autumn waters extending out to the horizon

But how does that compare with the haziness of the moon on a Spring night?

Most people want to have pure clarity

But sweep as you will, you cannot empty the mind

Keizan Jokin, the “Great Patriarch” 1268 – 1325, second founder of the Soto Zen School

In here

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A lot of what we consider to be an objective contact with reality is actually “interpretation contact”, filtered through stories we tell ourselves about our lives and other people. Our practice in staying in the present – or with simple felt contact –  is to help us detach a little from our perceptions of the future and the past and question their reliability as pointers to what is actually happening.

Much of what you see “out there” is actually manufactured “in here” by your brain …

Only a small fraction of the input to your occipital lobes comes from the external world;

the rest comes from internal memory stores and perceptual-processing modules.

Rich Hanson, Buddha’s Brain

photo elvert barnes

Endless opportunities

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When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid.

You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias and aggression. 

You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.

Pema Chodron

Settled

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And now the teaching on yoga begins….

Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence.

When the mind has settled, we are established in our essential nature, which is unbounded consciousness.

Our essential nature is usually overshadowed by the activity of the mind.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, c 400 AD.

Swings

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Don’t define your essential self in terms of a feeling. Don’t say, “I am depressed.” If you want to say, “It is depressed,” that’s all right. If you want to say depression is there, that’s fine; if you want to say gloominess is there, that’s fine. But not: I am gloomy. You’re defining yourself in terms of the feeling. That’s your illusion; that’s your mistake. There is a depression there right now, there are hurt feelings there right now, but let it be, leave it alone. It will pass. Everything passes, everything. Your depressions and your thrills have nothing to do with happiness. Those are just the swings of the pendulum

Anthony de Mello sj

photo clementina